Visiting High Road two days after the first riot, that sparked others around London, and around the UK, with reports coming in from Birmingham and , the place is still locked off by police.
After taking a few shots, walking back to the tube station a man stops me:
"Are you working for the media?
"Well, yes kinda...? Indymedia is the media, but probably not the media he meant.
"What do you think we should do now?
What am I supposed to respond to that? And why am I being asked, after being placed as part of the media? Is he asking me how people can get their story heard? How to change the image that has been created about those riots? That's how I interprete the question.
I tell him that I think people need to tell their story, to get their version of events out there without mediaries, professionals, journalists who will never be able to tell the sotry the way the people who are in the events can. The people in the communities need to get their stories heard.
I tell him about Indymedia, a community news site, that doesn't have editors or a bottom line. About our publish button.
He nods and grins and holds out his fist, for me to bump with my fist (how do you even say that?)
This is the time when we need community news. News written by the people, not by busy and harrassed journalists. We need to hear about the reasons for the riots and looting from the people who were part of the events. We need to take the time to collect and understand the real reasons for what is going on. Reading comments on news websites and listening to vox pops just shows how out of touch a lot of the people are with the streets. How those people who have a voice in the media have no explanations and reasons. And those who know do not talk.